The Doctrine of Christ
(The following is an excerpt from “The Doctrine of Christ” General Conference talk given by Denver C. Snuffer in Boise, Idaho on September 11, 2016, which can be accessed in full at www.restorationarchives.com/library/snuffer).
The Doctrine of Christ requires that we repent and be baptized. This is the sign He asks to demonstrate faith in Him. Faith requires action or it dwindles away and is lost.
The importance to the Lord that we act on His Doctrine cannot be overstated. Repentance and baptism are directly related to salvation and cannot be left undone. Christ declared His Doctrine in 3 Nephi 11:32-40 (NC 3 Nephi 5:9). His Doctrine came from His Father and mentions “baptism” four times. Only the first mention is positive, the three subsequent times it is negative:
First: “…whoso believeth in men, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
Second: “And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.”
Third: “And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.”
Fourth: “And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.”
This is a 3 to 1 ratio of negative warning to positive promise. I do not believe the Lord or His Father are negative. This approach is more a reflection on us than on Them. God is extraordinarily positive. But we need the clarity of being told the downside, and to be warned, because, unfortunately, a positive promise does not adequately motivate us.
Immediately following His Doctrine, Christ warns against rejecting, changing, adding to, or altering His Doctrine:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.”
His Doctrine also includes this commandment:
“Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.”
If you believe this Doctrine of Christ, you are required to be baptized and then declare Christ’s Doctrine to others.
The first time I was visited by the Lord, He showed me just how significant baptism is to abide the day of His return. He showed me baptism is of central importance to preparing for His return.
What He revealed did not seem to involve the baptism offered by the LDS Church. At the time I was a devout Latter-day Saint and did not understand how that could be possible. He revealed future events, and therefore for me to understand, more time needed to pass. The things I saw did not appear to give any greater meaning to baptism offered by the LDS church than baptism by any other denomination.
I have since come to understand that the form of baptism in the LDS church has been changed, and no longer conforms to the Doctrine of Christ. Like all other churches, that institution declares both more and less than Christ’s doctrine, and claims to establish it as His.
In the intervening years I have come to see that the baptism now offered by you, this people, appears to be the only one offered on earth that meets the requirements of what I was shown by the Lord years ago. For this reason it is important for us to baptize as many as will accept the Doctrine of Christ.
Since we do not ask others to become part of a new institution, nor demand they accept anything other than the Doctrine of Christ, we can and should baptize anyone willing.